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University's Labor Policy Is Essence of Rugged Individualism, Watt Points Out

A.F.L. Chief Sees No Deadlock In Bargaining -- Upholds Minority Rights


Typically American in its acceptance of labor standards "just as they happened to be" within its own sphere, the University takes a normal, "rugged-individualist" attitude towards unions, according to Robert J. Watt, secretary for the Massachusetts division of the A.F. of L.

Referring to the present negotiations between Local 186 and the Business Office, Watt said in an interview that he was confident Harvard would recognize his organization. That the two bargaining groups would be locked in inimical deadlock, he waived as unlikely.

Closed Shop Natural Step

"To me all this howl about a closed shop represents so much bunk," he emphasized. The A.F. of L. chief, who lives only three blocks from the Freshman Union, believed it amusing that so many important officers here raised such a fuss over exclusive bargaining rights.

Reminded that the chief objection to a closed shop was that for the working majority it gave a monopolistic privilege, Watt answered that the minority must be a factor in an agreement also.

"I don't agree that the smaller group loses anything," the district leader pointed out. "If the opportunity to work for less money and longer hours is considered a democratic right, it will take more than argument of Harvard professors to prove it to me."

Of the possible reaction of union negotiation on undergraduates, Watt said, "I'm not worrying about the student. They have a better chance to succeed than those who begin life scrubbing floors."

Teachers Contribute Nothing

Charging that education has not made the same strides as industrial and social fields in the last decade, the secretary declared that "if there is any group that has utterly failed to contribute anything to the life of the nation, it is the teachers."

Watt revealed that the organization of Harvard workers did not figure largely in their program, predicted recognition of agents for employees would be effected regardless of activities of a national labor group.

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